The modern flexible worker is more demanding than ever, says Mark Dixon. He’s just overhauled the technology in his chain of Regus serviced offices
Many businesses are adapting traditional office-based models in favour of more flexible ones with lower capital costs in response to the recession. So it’s not perhaps surprising that serviced office business, Regus has seen a threefold increase in mobile worker product sales compared to six months ago.
In response to these trends, Regus is reviewing the facilities at all of its 1,000 business centres around the world, introducing new technologies like smartcard access, secure Wi-Fi and telepresence suites.
“The recession is certainly having the consequence of changing the ways individuals and companies are working,” said Mark Dixon, Regus chief executive. “A convergence of technology, real estate availability and flexible working has combined for us to offer a number of things. We’re offering an almost exact match to London’s Oyster card across our business lounges, so you can top it up with money and use any of the facilities like the meeting rooms, telepresence suites in an easy, flexible, low-cost, buy-when-you-need way,” he said.
Dixon said businesses were increasingly reviewing their remote and branch office networks to save costs. “Our offices are well accessed by employees who often are remote working,” he continued. “And by using a service like ours, organisations can offer access to secure networks and flexible space, with benefits like the smartcard so they can do want they want when they’re here. And the social aspects of coming to a place like our business lounges with the TVs, sofas and refreshments, knowing there’s always a quiet place to take a call or have a meeting, is very popular among mobile workers.”
Less expensive, centralised desk space for every worker also supports the green agenda, he said. “More agile business models are also a nice tick in the green boxes too,” he said. “It removes the need for commuting, owning office space and all the cooling, security and other capital costs associated with that. Particularly as real estate taxes due to be introduced in 2010 will be according to the amount of power the space uses. This is encouraging them to use less space, with modern technologies and hot-desking, while modern mobile technologies mean workers can be productive on the move. Our systems are also universal, so staff can access corporate systems in the same way all over the world, which is a very popular feature. But cost is certainly now top of their agenda.”